I knew this time would come and I've been trying to prepare for it mentally, but I don't think that's possible. I have had my first (and second and third) experience with what I call "Church Mama Syndrome." Do you know what I'm talking about? It's that experience of carrying your child to a long church weekend and feeling discouraged at the end of the weekend. Hear me out....
As I sat with my wiggly and sick toddler on my lap for our fifth church service in three days, I selfishly asked the question "What's the point?' I had barely heard any of the sermons, I know my daughter can't understand the sermons yet, and I really hadn't been able to fellowship with many folks. It probably would have been better for me to just stay home, or so I thought in my discouragement. I had become the person I despised seeing at church meetings.
So what is the point? Why do we carry our children to church when the kids and Mama are just exhausted by the end? How do I worship when I'm taking my child out for correction 5 times in a service?
I realize there is a major fault in my thinking. Worship isn't about me. Worship isn't about making sure I feel good at the end. Worship isn't about meeting my needs. Worship is about Jesus. Worship is about putting my needs aside and giving honor, glory and praise to my Creator. Worship is about pouring my heart out in praise.
Sure, being fed spiritually is an important aspect of worship, but it is secondary. Fellowship with like-minded people is vital, but secondary. Encouragement and renewing of the spirit is important in the worship service, but that is done through putting the Lord first in our hearts and minds.
But the question still remains of how do I, as a mama, worship while training my child? Honestly, I'm still working that out in my mind. I know it will be a weekly challenge, but one I'm resolving to face with a good attitude. I know that worship starts long before I enter the church building. Worship starts when I prepare my heart and mind to praise the Lord, regardless of how much or little I hear of the sermon. Worship begins when I have a servant's attitude about fixing a meal for church lunch, rather than approaching it as "another meal I have to cook." Worship begins when I admit that I am weak and I beg the Lord to give me the wisdom and strength to be the best parent to Evelyn. Worship begins when I show my daughter love through correction. Worship begins when I commit to carry my daughter to church and let her grow up under the sound of the gospel, regardless of what she can understand. Worship begins in my heart.
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9